FAIRLAWN: For many shoppers, Black Friday is more than just about spending money.

It’s about spending time with friends and family — while spending money as they shop, of course.

Chris Maxim, 55, of Akron, and nieces Aliviah Chaplain, 19, and Isabel Chaplain, 14, both of Tallmadge, say it’s become a tradition for them to get together to shop on the day after Thanksgiving.

“It’s an aunt-niece kind of thing,” Maxim said while they browsed at Me Gifts inside Summit Mall.

They’ve been shopping together on Black Friday for six or seven years, they said. This year, they started out at 5 a.m. and planned to keep going until after lunch, when they figured they would be done for the day.

By 9 a.m., they had gotten nearly everything on their wish lists.

“We’re shopping for both presents and what we need,” Aliviah Chaplain said.

Summit Mall opened at 6 a.m. Friday. The mall also had Thanksgiving evening hours until 1 a.m.

Me Gifts co-owner Este­ban Lopez noticed a dip in mall customers in the morning this year — possibly because more stores are opening on Thanksgiving night.

“It’s not as crazy today,” he said.

His store sells exotic hardwood gifts such as puzzle boxes, jewelry boxes, shot glasses, cutting boards and mugs, all of which can be engraved.

Other regular Black Friday shoppers also reported that the mall seemed to be less busy than in past years — at least in the early morning.

Friends Elaine Daubenmire, 39, of Bath Township, Tiffany Ervin, 38, of Millersburg, Tabitha Hawkins, 37, of Killbuck, and Lisa Mast, 37, of Berlin, Ohio, said they thought the mall was closed when they first pulled up because of the lack of cars in the parking lot.

Daubenmire, Tiffany and Mast have been shopping together for four years on Black Friday. Their tradition includes going to the mall and Aurora Farms Premium Outlets, and getting sushi for lunch.

“We don’t wait in long lines,” Daubenmire said. “We just come out for the fun of it.”

Hawkins, who woke up at 2 a.m. to meet her friends, took part in her first Black Friday excursion.

“It’s great,” she said. “Lots of fun.”

Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or rarmon@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @armonrickABJ.